Judging by the look of this weekend’s series at home against the Tigers, it is safe to say that the Yankees have just begun to hit their stride offensively. An emphatic series win, taking 2 out of 3, was highlighted by impressive and powerful offense in both wins.
The first game, a 7-4 win, was punctuated early. The highly controversial Alex Rodriguez hit a home run in the first inning for his 3,000th hit. Also contributing offensively for the Yankees was Brett Gardner and Didi Gregorius, who each homered. Gardner had the big day with 4 hits and 3 RBI. Tigers starter Justin Verlander gave up 10 hits and 6 runs in 6.2 innings and struck out just two batters.
Adam Warren pitched a career high 8 innings, scattering 7 hits and striking out 7. Only one Tigers player had more than one hit, which was Miguel Cabrera. Chase Headley committed his 15th error of the year, but it did not come back to haunt the club, as he gathered himself to throw out Ian Kinsler at home.
The longball vibes continued into Saturday night. After Willie Randolph and Mel Stottlemyre were honored with plaques before Old Timer’s Day, the offense played like the days of Murderer’s Row. The Yanks clubbed five dingers, including two by Carlos Beltran, in a 14-3 rout. Alex Rodriguez had 5 RBI on 2 hits, and Chris Young and Brett Gardner had 3 hits each. Gardner finished a home run shy of the cycle, but Gregorius hit a home run in back-to-back games. Alfredo Simon lasted only 2.2 innings for the Tigers, whose bullpen was so depleted that infielder Josh Wilson pitched the 8th inning.
Nathan Eovaldi bounced back from his horrendous start last week (0.2 innings, 8 earned runs) to pitch into the 7th innings and gave up only 3 hits. Bryan Mitchell recorded a 3-inning save in his first taste of the bigs this season. J.D. Martinez had 2 hits and an RBI for the Tigers, who produced nothing more than an average offensive attack for the second consecutive ballgame.
Luckily for the Tigers, roles were reversed on Sunday. Masahiro Tanaka lasted only 5 innings after pitching 7 in each of his last two starts. He allowed three homers to Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez, and Andrew Romine. The Martinez duo had a big day, with 3 hits and 4 RBI for Victor and 3 hits and 6 RBI for J.D. (by the way, all of his hits were homers). Amazingly, the Yanks only needed two relievers after Tanaka, as Rafael De Paula ate up 3.1 innings to finish the game off.
Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez pitched 7 strong innings. He also gave up multiple longballs, one to Brian McCann and one to Stephen Drew, who also hit one in the 9th off of Joakim Soria. The 12-4 loss was definitely not expected, but should be taken with a grain of salt as an offensive explosion showcased in the first two games (and a 9-4 win over the Marlins at the end of the last series) couldn’t have been sustained much longer.
With that being said, the overall feeling is that this series could possibly be the one that sends the Yankees on a mid-season roll. Let’s check out some of the best performers for the Yankees this weekend:
Offensive MVP: Stephen Drew- 6-12, 2 homers after an 0-10 series against Miami.
Offensive Slug: Mark Teixeira– A disappointing 2-9 with no RBI.
Pitcher of the Series: Adam Warren- A career high 8 innings of 2-run ball.
Pitching Nightmare: Masahiro Tanaka- Just a 5-inning, 10-hit outing after going deep in his last two starts.